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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 04-06-2004
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thalassolikos is on a distinguished road
knock downs

i am new to sailing, yet will be buying a cal34 to live in since i work one month on, one off(marine industry). i was wondering how hard learning to sail that would be, and how to recover from a knock down(mast in water), or will the cal right itself?
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Old 04-06-2004
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knock downs

Cal 34''s have a very large companionway and a large sail locker so if you took a real knockdown then downflooding would be more likely than on a boat built for offshore work. Still and all depending on where you will be sailing and your care with the weather, knockdowns of that nature would be pretty rare.

Jeff
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Old 04-07-2004
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Silmaril is on a distinguished road
knock downs

The best way to recover from a knockdown is... to avoid them in the first place!

Lessons are in order here. A 34 footer is an awfully big boat to learn on, but hey, I''ve seen worse.

By nature, in most sailboats with a fixed keel, once the mast hits the water, the wind will be out of the sails, and the boat just pops back up. Wait ''til you see the mess below! Everything not secured prior to the knockdown will be all over the place!

Then there are the cases of a boat getting knocked down in heavy seas, the "wrong" wave rolls you further over and you go turtle, not a pleasant thought. There are all sorts of formulas to predict the likelyhood of this occuring. The types of waves that you would need to do this are pretty big, large body of water stuff. I would hope you keep to protected waters until you are more proficient in your technique.

Again, prevention is the best remedy. A knockdown needs very high winds, you should be prepared to sail in the conditions present and have your sail shortened in advance.
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Old 04-07-2004
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thalassolikos is on a distinguished road
knock downs

the reason i am so concerned is because i was at the stage last year of mastering small sailboats (16ft) and "knockdowsns" where so frequence some times. I can''t imagine the panic and disaster when this happens to a much larger vessel(flooding and such inside)
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Old 04-07-2004
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knock downs

I think that under normal weather conditions you''d be hard pressed to knock over a Cal 34, but then that really wasn'' the question. If you remember the Priority Order of Sailing you can avoid the situation:
When sailing,
First it is about the wind: how much, how steady, from where.
Second it is the boat: sail plan, stability and set of sails, mindful of the wind.
Third, it is the crew: number, experience, training, mindful of the boat and its needs in the wind at hand.
Fourthly, it is the passengers: their comfort and safety, but you cannot address this without the first three being considered.

When you go out, go down this list, adjusting each of the four to handle the situation ahead of it. You''ll be fine then.

enjoy the experience
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Old 04-07-2004
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knock downs

A boat as small as 16 foot most likely did not have ballast to offset the force of the wind on the sails. A keel boat will lean so far before either the rudder looses "grip" and the boat heads into the wind or the boat and wind finds a happy medium. I have sailed my 23 foot boat in some heavy winds and it has healed over 40 degrees or so and then did not go any more, it found its happy medium. To get knocked down would take a lot on a boat your size. A lot of wind and some big waves hitting you from the side at the same time.
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Old 04-08-2004
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knock downs

As others have said, it''s much harder to knock down a 34 foot keel boat than a 16 foot centerboard dinghy. And, even if you do manage to get knocked down, it''ll probably pop back upright as soon as the wind pressure is off the sails. There is, as Jeff points out, the possibility of water entering through the companionway or cockpit locker while the boat is on its side, but that is not supposed to happen in a properly designed boat in non freak conditions.

But my main advice to you, worth every nickel you''re paying me for it, is to keep sailing a lot in that 16 foot boat you mention. It''ll teach you more about sailing and boathandling, and teach you much faster, than the 34 foot boat. Practice in heavier and heavier air and bigger and bigger waves, but pick times and circumstances in which you will be safe (such as, larger boats nearby who are aware of what you are doing and who can rescue you if you get in trouble). Bring along a physically strong friend, ideally one who is a good sailor. Get to the point when you can maneuver that boat through tacks and gybes, in gusts and in lulls, on top of waves or in troughs, and keep it flat the whole time.

That''ll give you some satisfaction and confidence in your skills, which, at the end of the day, will make more difference in your safety and comfort than will the boat design.
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Old 04-08-2004
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knock downs

And a handheld VHF is a good idea, I think we all keep an eye on the smaller boats when we are entering and leaving. Just since Jan. of this year I have heard keelboats calling Harbor Patrol to assist small boats many times, probably good to have your own if no one''s around. Most sailors have been in centerboard (or leeboard) boats, and probably most have been knocked down. I started as a kid in Sabots and it was a required drill. When the Santana winds would start unexpected it came in real handy to know how to right the boat, and with that how to keep things a little flatter as mentioned. Didn''t take too long to catch on and later sailed 14'' boat in ALL kinds of conditions without putting it wrongside down, thankfully, would have been harder to upright. Personally, I like keelboats at my age cause I don''t like getting THAT wet anymore.
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Old 04-13-2004
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knock downs

I will go one step further than posts here that say a KD is less likely on a 34 than a 16. I say there is no comparison at all. What causes the 16 to be dangerous can be the fun of the 34.
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Old 06-16-2004
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knock downs

What our friend, the sea-wolf, seems not to grasp in the first place is that a 16-foot dinghy frequently or less so capsizes for fun or unintentionally without any major consequence, while a 34-footer that is knocked down (not because of detachment of her keel) had better stay at port under such weather conditions!
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